On the Contemporaneity of Critical Theory

Di Gunnar Hindrichs

In: Critique: Hegel and Contemporary Critical Theory LII , No. 1 ( 2023 )

Sezione Saggi / Articles


In this paper, Gunnar Hindrichs examines the philosophical project of Critical Theory initiated in the 1930s by Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Pollock, Löwenthal and Fromm, in order to assess its ‘contemporaneity’. Hindrichs argues that contemporary forms of critical theory are either theories (theory of communicative action, of recognition, etc.) or critiques (critique of power, of life forms, etc.), but they are not properly critical theories. From this point of view, then, Horkheimer and Adorno’s Critical Theory project might be ‘more contemporary’, since it better hits the substance of our historical period. This contribution reproduces the text presented by Hindrichs at the conference Critiques of Reason: Hegel and Contemporary Critical Theory, held at the University of Padova from June 29 to July 1, 2022, and organized by hegelpd, the Australian Hegel Society and the Sociedade Hegel Brasileira.